Tips on Unpacking a Classroom at the Start of a New Year

Well friends, August is here. And you know what that means?!?! It’s time to start unpacking that classroom.

I don’t know about you, but the start of a new year and unpacking all your goodies. Laying out things in a new way. It just gets me really excited. I love organizing and setting things up (hence the title of my blog) and so this time of year is always really fun for me.

But I also realize that it can be really overwhelming, especially for teachers who have a ton of stuff and may not have organized well before the end of the year. So this week I am going to share about how to unpack a classroom. And hang on tight, because it may not be what you are thinking.

Tips on unpacking a classroom at the start of a new year

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I think I may annoy a few people here. But that’s okay. Just hear me out. You probably fall into one of these two categories of teachers

1.I put everything away where it goes

2. I shove everything in where it fits

Yes? One of those? Okay, well if you are the first type, you can skip on to step two below. If not, take a look at step one and just think about it.

Unpacking a Classroom Steps

1. If  you are the type of person that WANTS to be organized but struggle with where to even begin. I want you to get a fresh start. This may not be possible if you don’t have much time in your room before PD starts. But think about moving EVERYTHING out of your room. Like everything. Empty the cabinets. Move the furniture out there. People will look at you like your crazy but sometimes the best way to get a fresh start is to literally move everything out and then put it back in nice and neatly.

Tips on how to unpack a classroom at the start of a new year

(I’m so sorry that many of my pictures lately have been such poor quality. iPhone 4’s sucked. Also, can you feel the proudness beaming off of me in that picture? I was SO proud!)

2. Next you should layout your furniture. If you are not one of the ones who moved everything outside, then consider moving all of your boxes into one corner of your room. This will keep things from being strewn about the room and contained to one area. Now you will be able to move your furniture about and place it where you want. Remember, you need to identify the three important areas in your room (whole group area, small group area, library) and then place your students desks where you want them.

Tips on how to unpack a classroom at the start of a new year

3. This next step is when you will establish the remaining areas of your room. Think about where you want your stations to be as well as where you will store materials. This way, when you get to step 4 you know exactly where to put things when you are unpacking.

Tips on how to unpack a classroom at the start of a new year

4. Now you can start unpacking boxes, putting things in cabinets, and putting some materials out. Make sure to organize your cabinets by like things so that you are able to find items quickly and efficiently.

Setting Up a Classroom for First Year Teachers

5. The LAST step is decorating. I encourage you to do this last for two reasons. 1. It is fun and serves as a motivator to keep you on task with the items above. 2. It is one of the most time consuming parts of setting up a classroom because we want it to be perfect. But, just because your room is adorable and looks great, doesn’t mean it is organized well. I would rather you have a well organized classroom for the start of the year than a cute room. You won’t have time to organize once those kids get there, so get that done first.

Tips on how to unpack a classroom at the start of a new year

Classroom Makeover

Perhaps your classroom is already set up. You are one of the lucky ones that gets to leave your room set up over the summer and spend your time at the beginning of the year planning and creating fun projects for your classroom! Or maybe you get to leave your classroom set up, but you are ready for a classroom makeover.

If you read my blog on time management, you read about how I am redoing a lot of things in my classroom this upcoming year simply to make it look new and fresh. I have been staring at that decoration for the last 5 years…I’m ready for something new! And maybe you are, too!

I have a packet of pages that can walk you through developing a plan for a classroom makeover. Click the graphic below to sign up for the email list and get access to The Organizer’s Bin. Once you get the password and are in, look for “classroom makeover goal planning sheet” and download it!

Classroom makeover goal planning sheet


This past month of July was focused on setting up a classroom. You can read those blogs here!

Setting up a Classroom

Routines to Plan For

5 Important Behavior Management Plans to Develop

Time Management, It’s Imperative

You can also subscribe to the Creating and Sticking to Classroom Organization Routines ecourse. This ecourse gets delivered straight to your inbox and walks you through the steps of getting organized and staying organized!

Get your classroom organized through this free ecourse

Want classroom organization help? Be sure to fill out the form to schedule a time for me to come help you in your classroom!

Until next time,



Tips on unpacking a classroom at the start of a new school year

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